Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Rise And Fall of Skip To My Lou

Damn, Skip stays losing. Blaze already tackled this subject on his blog, On top of the World, but let me delve a little deeper.

Rockets guard Rafer Alston, better known through the playground moniker of "Skip To My Lou", was arrested yesterday in New York for allegedly being involved in the stabbing of some random dude in a nightclub.

This is Rafer's, who is from Queens, NY, second assault arrest in three weeks. Dude got anger issues.

In this latest fuckup..er, arrest, a member of Skip's entourage got into an argument with a 41-year-old man (what are 41-year-old dudes doing in the club, anyway?) and it turned into a brawl. (Side note: when will athletes learn that entourages are only good on HBO?)

What's up with Skip? He's been mild-mannered since he came to Houston in 2005. He hasn't gotten into any big trouble, no arrests. Shit, he didn't even try to pull a Sprewell on Jeff Van Gundy while he was here. He's been a model citizen and teammate. Has Rafer become Snap To My Lou?

I think it's the fact that he's seen his career go from solid starter on a playoff team to possible fourth stringer in the span of four months. After the Rockets were bounced from the first round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz in early May, new GM Daryl Morey went about an obvious path to dramatically improve the point guard position, Rafer's position. He traded Juwan Howard for Mike James, drafted Aaron Brooks in the first round, and signed former franchise (pun intended) guard Steve Francis in consecutive months. Skip's ego should be in Ja Rule-mode right now.

After his first arrest this month, it pretty much sealed his fate in Houston. He wasn't good enough to match up with the other elite guards in the West, we upgraded the position x3, then he turns around and publicly fucks up -- this dude must think he's Ron-Ron or something. What's up with Queens?

It wasn't always like this, though. When I was in the ninth grade, Skip To My Lou was the main focus of the
classic first And 1 mixtape that swept through hoods everywhere. It showed him balling at Rucker Park in real games, not the manufactured, commercial mess it is now.

That tape pretty much had me. I watched it as soon as I got home from school everyday, before I went to the park. But it was more than the playground stuff for me. I researched him and found out that not only did he start at Fresno State for a while, he was featured on the cover of Slam Magazine and was in the league, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.

He became somebody to root for. Sure, he was a third-string pg in Milwaukee (behind Sam Cassell and Vinny Del Negro). Sure, he was known as just a playground streetballer whose game would never adapt to the NBA system. We watched and waited, hoping that he would get a chance to be that 16-year-old kid from Queens in that sketchy videotape no one could stop watching. It never came. This was a good thing.

He stayed with the Bucks for a couple more years before playing in the NBA Developmental League. He signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors in 2003 and played well. He solidified his spot in the league when he signed with the Miami Heat in 2003, playing the backup role for a suprising Heat playoff squad. He then hit it big, signing back with Toronto for a guaranteed six years, a long way from being a second-round pick that supposedly wasn't going to make it in the league.

He was traded to Houston for Mike James in 2005 after clashing with head coach Sam Mitchell. We were happy to have him. I was happy to have him. It all came full circle, I thought. The playground legend I loved watching was now balling for my city, my team. We were going to do big things with Skip at the point. *sighs*

Two years, no championship, no second-round, a lot of public spectacles of abuse from opposing point guards, and now two embarrassing arrests. Starting point guards don't do buck 50s across old men's necks, allegedly. (Of course, if he would've slashed a canine's jugular, David Stern would have him thrown out of the league, pronto. Remember kids, you can harm innocent people all you want, just don't hurt any animals. Got it. Ok.)

The larger issue looming is, what kind of value does he have now? Teams obviously know the Rockets are shopping (re: trying to get rid of him at all costs) him, and they all justifiably have the upper hand in any deal Morey tries to do. He's scheduled to make $4.5 million this year. Do we buy him out?

I don't know, we just have to get him out of here. This isn't a Michael Vick-type fall from grace, here. He was never going to lead us anywhere, anyway.

Besides, Skip To My Lou will live in playground basketball fans forever. Rafer Alston is pretty much dead to me.


shakes said...

I read the report but it doesn't necessarily lead me to believe Alston is guilty. He does have a witness who cliams Alston was not involved, so regardless of the victim pointing a rich black man out of a lineup, Alston does have a solid defense.

Trey said...

My post isn't necessarily about his latest arrest, because there are conflicting reports. He may be innocent of stabbing dude.

It's more about his fall as an underdog hero (at least in my eyes) and as a Rocket

shakes said...

Oh. I never looked at it that way. But don't give up on Skip too soon, Steve Francis might not bring his A game.

Trey said...

The thing is, with this squad, Francis doesn't always have to bring his A game. We got Brooks and James there as backup plans anyway.

Skip and John Lucas III are as good as gone.

shakes said...

As a Knick fan, when I say Francis might not being his A game, I don't mean he needs to be an All-Star. No, what I am saying is that he won't be the simple but effective guard they need. He might decide that he wants to be Stevie Franchise again, and throw the team all the way out of wack.

It's possible.

Trey said...

It very much is possible. The difference between us and the Knicks is we can cut him or let him play out the season at a minimal cost. The very big difference (GM-wise) between Daryl Morey and Isiah Thomas.

Trey said...

As much as I love Steve, I love my Rockets even more. If he's fucking up, I'll push for us to drop him faster than Nike did Vick.

don said...

this is shakes...

If Francis plays within the structure of the offense, he has the oppurtunity to help the Rockets accomplish some very big thangs.